In Dialogue with the Lord, Previously Unpublished Meditations and Talks of St. Josemaría
The St. Josemaría Escrivá Historical Institute has published In Dialogue with the Lord (Rialp, 512 p.). This volume includes 25 previously unpublished texts of the founder of Opus Dei, dated between 1954 and 1975. This is a critical-historical edition of talks and meditations that St. Josemaría gave to the faithful of Opus Dei who lived in Rome. This oral preaching has been preserved either through audio recordings or very complete notes. Between 1967 and 1975, Saint Josemaría reviewed this material and provided the editorial changes needed to convert what had been the spoken word into written texts. These texts were published in private collections for the formation of the faithful of Opus Dei, and are now made available to the general public.
The book includes a section of facsimiles, with the original outlines of three of the meditations that are now being published. Each text has a brief introduction, with an explanation of the context, a summary of the contents and an analysis of the sources.
The book has been prepared by Luis Cano and Francesc Castells, with the assistance of José Antonio Loarte. It opens with a prologue by Bishop Javier Echevarría (Prelate of Opus Dei from 1994 to December 2016), who read the draft of the book a few weeks before he died.
In Dialogue with the Lord is a new addition to the “Collection of the Complete Works of St. Josemaría” that the Institute is preparing. It is the first issue of a series dedicated to the oral preaching of the founder of Opus Dei. At present work is being done on classifying and ordering the unpublished material kept in the General Archive of the Prelature, with a view to other future publications.
The new publication joins the five critical-historical studies now available in Spanish: The Way (published in 2002), Holy Rosary (2010), Conversations with Msgr. Escrivá de Balaguer (2012), Christ Is Passsing By (2013), and La Abadesa de las Huelgas (2016). All of these are included in the series “Published works of the founder.”
Content of the book
The preaching collected in In Dialogue with the Lord covers 21 years, from 1954 to 1975. Although these 25 oral texts are widely spaced in time, they contain a number of common themes, including the invitation to personally identify oneself with Christ, reflections on divine filiation, love for God and the Church, prayer and contemplative life, love for God and others in ordinary life, humility, and fraternal charity.
The first three texts, from the period 1954-1955, come from meditations that St. Josemaría gave to the students at the Roman College of the Holy Cross, where young people from various countries were taking part in a period of special human and spiritual formation, close to the founder. The next meditations, between 1962 and 1967, were preached to his direct co-workers in the government of Opus Dei or to the vicars of the various regions gathered in Rome to work for some days with St. Josemaría. In the texts from 1969 to 1975, meditations alternate with a brief homily and several talks.
The authors of the volume
Luis Cano has a law degree from the University of Navarra and a doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He is secretary of the St. Josemaría Historical Institute and a professor of Church History in the Istituto Superiore di Scienze Religiose all’Apollinare, in Rome, where he has lived since 1989. His principal publications are about the life of St. Josemaría and the history of Opus Dei, and about the history of devotion in the Church to the Sacred Heart and to Christ the King.
Francesc Castells i Puig has a degree in history from the University of Barcelona and a doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. A member of the St. Josemaría Escrivá Historical Institute, he works in the General Archives of the Opus Dei Prelature. He has published a number of articles about St. Josemaría Escrivá and the history of Opus Dei.
Romana, No. 65, July-December 2017, p. 316-317.